Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Staging a home to sell!

Dear Rich,

My husband and I are going to sell our house in Charlotte and we of course want it to sell quickly and at a good price.

Since you see hundreds of homes with dozens of buyers each year, can you tell us what we can do to make the house more attractive and inviting to prospective buyers? Are there things that you hear over and over--things that are obvious or not that we can do before the house goes on the market?

We understand that the market has slowed, but we also know we are in a great city for real estate right now. We are lucky to be in Charlotte---but we also want to move as quickly as possible.


Eleanore R . Charlotte, NC

Dear Eleanore:

It is true...I have walked in to literally hundreds of homes in the Charlotte area - all shapes, sizes and conditions and while I try not to give away my own personal feelings on a house--it is always obvious as we walk in, what the buyer thinks about it--usually before we get past the front entrance.

Sometimes it is the little things that turn a prospective buyer off... the smell, the paint color, clutter... So I certainly have some advice to share with you:

1) Make all repairs now. If the doorknob is loose, the sink is leaky, or the step on the front porch is broken...fix it now. If your home is in need of obvious minor repairs, a buyer may start to wonder 1) what else is wrong? 2) that the price is too high, 3) that the house needs more work than they want to put into it. I often also recommend that the seller invest in a home inspection as well. This will help you pin-point trouble-spots as well as be more attractive to the prospective buyers.

2) Remove clutter. Removing clutter will make your home appear larger, cleaner and will allow prospective buyers to picture the house as their own.

3) Paint and clean. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral or popular color will make the house look clean and well maintained. Have the carpets cleaned, (replace old and worn ones), in addition to a thorough cleaning of the whole house.

4) Smell. Smell is one of the things that can produce strong feelings about a house -- good or bad. Having your house clean will make it smell good, but generally you want your home not to have a smell that is memorable. Pet odors, mold, mildew and cooking grease all are offensive when you walk in. The smell of cookies or vanilla is very pleasant, but you should never use a smell to cover another. If your house has pet odors or mold...any bad small...then definitely get it cleaned before you put the house on the market.

5) Turn on the lights. Make sure that the lights are on, especially in rooms with few windows. Lighting will produce a feeling of a bigger and brighter space.

I wrote to another seller recently -- I recommend reading my response to this letter as well. It has several other suggestions. Good luck selling your home in Charlotte and best of luck with your move.

Rich Ferretti
Buyer's Agent

Want more information about the Charlotte area real estate market? Check out www.richferretti.com

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